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The Smithfield Marketplace Guide on How to Bake a Ham

About Hams & Ham Cooking/Preparation Directions



| Preparation | How to Cook | How to Carve | Serving Tips | Storage | Choosing a Ham |





Preparation

Genuine Smithfield and Country Hams (Cooked)

If you have selected a fully cooked ham, further preparation is unnecessary. Simply slice and serve. If you prefer, reheat in aluminum foil on low heat (275 degrees) until slightly warm.

Genuine Smithfield and Country Hams (Uncooked)

Uncooked Hams require soaking before cooking since these hams are dry cured. The length of soaking time should be influenced by your taste for salt (longer soaking results in a milder ham) and the type of ham (Genuine Smithfield hams are cured longer than country hams and are more salty and dry by nature).

  • Soak Genuine Smithfield Hams 36 hours or longer. Soak Country Hams 24 hours or longer. Changing the water every several hours during soaking will aid in drawing salt from the ham.
  • After soaking, wash ham thoroughly in warm water. Use a stiff brush to scrub ham thoroughly and remove all pepper and surface mold, if present. Mold is very common on these uncooked hams and is no way injurious (like aged cheeses mold in the aging process).

Spiral Sliced Hams

Our Spiral Sliced Hams are fully cooked. These hams are shipped frozen and will arrive frozen or partially thawed. If you choose to warm your spiral sliced ham, it should be completely thawed. We recommend thawing your Spiral Sliced Ham in the refrigerator for approximately 5 hours per pound. A Half ham would take approximately two days to thaw in the refrigerator and a Whole ham would take approximately 4 days to thaw in the refrigerator.

Hardwood Smoked Hams

Our Hardwood Smoked Hams should also be completely thawed before cooking. These hams are shipped frozen and will arrive frozen or partially thawed. We recommend thawing your Hardwood Smoked Ham in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.




How to Cook

Genuine Smithfield and Country Hams (Uncooked)

Oven-Cooking

  • Wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil, forming a vessel with the bottom layer. Add 4 to 5 cups of water within the foil and place in oven with a tray or pan underneath for support. Carefully join the edges of the aluminum foil making sure the edges are closed.
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Once oven temperature reaches 300 degrees, bake approximately 3 hours or 20 minutes per pound.
  • Using a meat thermometer, check for a 163 degree internal temperature in the thickest part of the ham.
  • Remove ham from oven when correct internal temperature is reached and let cool to room temperature for one hour. Remove skin and fat as desired.
  • If a sweet coating is desired, sprinkle the fat side with brown sugar and bread crumbs and bake in a 400 degree oven until brown (approximately 15 minutes).
* Important: Do not open oven door until the cook cycle is completed.

Water-Cooking
  • Place in a large roasting pan, skin-side down and cover with cool water.
  • Bring water to 190 degrees (not quite simmering). Cook to 163 degrees internal temperature (or about 25 minutes per pound). Add water to keep ham covered.
  • Take ham from the pan and while warm, remove the skin and fat as desired.
  • If a sweet coating is desired, sprinkle the fat side with brown sugar and bread crumbs and bake in a 400 degree oven until brown (approximately 15 minutes).
Serving Tips
  • The flavor of a Smithfield or Country Ham is best when served at room temperature. These hams can be served in a variety of ways. Sliced ham is delicious on biscuits or pan-fried and served with "red-eye gravy." Use pieces of ham or a piece of bone in soup, or to season beans or vegetables.
  • Red-Eye Gravy – Add one half cup water or black coffee to skillet in which ham slices were fried. Simmer for a few minutes. Serve over fried ham slices with biscuits.

Spiral Sliced Hams

Your spiral sliced ham is fully cooked and can be gently heated or served chilled. To heat this ham, heat oven to 275 degrees. Remove packaging, reserving liquid. Place ham cut-side down on a large sheet of foil in a roasting pan. Pour reserved liquid over ham and wrap completely with foil. Warm ham in oven for 10 to 12 minutes per pound. Do not overheat.

Hardwood Smoked Hams

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove all packaging materials and place ham on its side, fat side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan; cover loosely with aluminum foil.

2. Heat approximately 15 to 20 minutes per pound until heated through.

3. Remove ham from oven and let stand, covered, 20 minutes before serving for whole hams, or 10-15 minutes before serving for half hams.

Glazing Ham

Remove ham from oven when heated through. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Uncover ham, brush or spoon on your glaze over ham surface. Return to oven, uncovered, and heat 10 minutes.



How to Carve

To bring out the delicate flavor of your Smithfield or country ham, you must slice it very thin, using a very sharp knife (preferably long and narrow). If you have selected a boneless ham, just begin slicing at the small end of the ham and serve. Smoked Hams are carved in a similar manner, but may be sliced slightly thicker, if preferred.

Caution: Please be careful while slicing ham to avoid personal injury.

Bone-in Genuine Smithfield or Country Ham

There are three easy steps to elegantly carving your Bone-In Ham:
  • With ham on a flat surface, dressed side up, begin about two inches from the hock (or small end) and make the first cut straight through to the bone.
  • Slant the knife slightly for each succeeding cut. Slice down to and partially around the bone.
  • Decrease slant as the slices become larger. Eventually the bone formation will cause you to cut smaller slices at different angles.

Spiral Sliced Hams

  • Cut along the natural seam on the top (as it faces you), extending knife point as far back into the ham as you wish to remove slices and then down and to the left, parallel to the bone, exiting at the natural seam.
  • Then make a second cut along the top (where the first section was removed) parallel to the bone, around to the right and exiting at the natural seam.
  • To remove the final section, cut down to the right, and parallel to the bone until the section is free.



Storing Ham

Genuine Smithfield and Country Hams

Uncooked country hams may be safely stored hanging in a cool dry area at room temperature. Genuine Smithfield hams will keep for up to two years and country hams will keep for up to six months without deterioration.

Uncooked country hams may be safely stored hanging in a cool dry area. Smithfield Hams will keep for up to one year and Country Hams will keep for up to six months from date of manufacture without deterioration. Cooked country hams, Genuine Smithfield hams, and unopened slices will keep at least 6 weeks under refrigeration. Cooked hams may be frozen; however, we recommend removal of the bone before freezing. Gourmet slices should be consumed within a few days of opening.


Spiral Sliced and Hardwood Smoked Hams
  • Spiral Sliced and Hardwood Smoked hams will be shipped frozen and should be refrigerated or re-frozen upon receipt.
  • Spiral Sliced Bone-In Hams may be kept refrigerated for seven to ten days. The Genuine Virginia Boneless Spiral Ham and the Hardwood Smoked hams may be kept refrigerated for up to two weeks.
  • Spiral Sliced hams and Hardwood Smoked hams can be kept frozen three months and will retain their maximum flavor.


Dry Cured Bacon
  • Dry Cured Bacon may be refrigerated for up to two months and frozen for up to six months to retain maximum flavor.


For more great ways to enjoy your ham, see our recipes online here.




Choosing a Ham

Not sure which of our distinctively flavored gourmet hams your tastes would prefer? Follow this simple guide for how to buy a ham
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